At any given time, it’s estimated that around 50 million people in the US are living with chronic pain. This often debilitating condition impacts not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being.
While medication is a common solution for pain relief, it’s wise to discuss all of your treatment options. Incorporating lifestyle habits, such as exercise can also help in managing chronic pain and improving overall quality of life.
Visiting a specialist is one of the best places to start. Here at Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, board-certified physicians Stuart Hough, MD, and Ramani Peruvemba, MD, specialize in interventional pain management. Our team can help you find ways to optimize pain management for spinal conditions, nerve injury, surgery, and cancer.
The link between exercise and chronic pain
Engaging in regular exercise can bring numerous benefits to anyone dealing with the challenge of chronic pain. Exercise promotes the release of "feel-good" hormones, which can help alleviate pain and improve mood.
Additionally, physical activity helps strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and boost overall physical endurance.
By increasing blood flow to painful areas, exercise can reduce inflammation and promote healing. What’s more, exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce stress, and boost energy levels, all of which can contribute to managing chronic pain effectively.
Best exercises for chronic pain management
The type and intensity of exercise recommended for chronic pain management can vary depending on your circumstances and underlying conditions. Here are some ideas to get you moving:
Low-impact aerobic exercises
Activities like walking, swimming, and cycling are excellent options for people with chronic pain. These exercises can improve cardiovascular health and promote muscle endurance without putting excessive strain on the joints.
Resistance exercises using weights or resistance bands can help build muscle strength and stability. An appropriate strength training program, tailored to individual needs and limitations, can effectively reduce pain and improve your functioning.
Flexibility and range of motion exercises
Gentle stretching exercises, like yoga or Pilates, can enhance flexibility and mobility, reducing stiffness and improving joint function. These exercises also promote relaxation and stress reduction.
Aquatic exercises, such as water aerobics or hydrotherapy, provide a low-impact approach that reduces stress on joints and muscles. The buoyancy of water helps support the body, facilitating movement while minimizing pain.
The role of a pain management specialist
While exercise can be beneficial for managing chronic pain, it is crucial to consult with a pain management specialist before starting any exercise program. Our team has extensive training and expertise in diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions. Doctors Hough and Peruvemba can tailor an exercise plan that is safe, effective, and suited to your specific needs.
When you consult with us at our clinic, our team performs a comprehensive evaluation, considering factors such as the type and location of pain, your overall health, and physical abilities.
Based on this assessment, our team can recommend specific exercises, modify intensity as needed, and provide guidance on proper form and technique to prevent further injury or aggravation of pain.
Additionally, your Pain Management Specialist provider may incorporate other treatments alongside exercise, such as:
- Corticosteroid injections
- Nerve blocks
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Medication management
- Radiofrequency ablation
Our team takes a holistic approach to help you manage your pain and improve how you feel and function. Chronic pain doesn't have to dictate your life. With the right approach and guidance, exercise can be a powerful tool in your pain management arsenal.
The Pain Management Specialist team is committed to helping you find the most effective ways to manage your pain and improve your quality of life. Contact us to learn more about how we can tailor an exercise program to suit your specific needs and help you on your journey to pain relief.